Halfway through our placement, Project Hope is shifting all its volunteers’ schedules. School is starting up again in Nablus, so we can’t have morning classes anymore. If we’re lucky, we’ll still have the same kids. For all the obstacles we face with teaching here– including the language barrier, the problems in Palestine, and the fact that they are, you know, children — they’ve made so much progress in these last three weeks that I’m reluctant to give them up for a fresh new batch of students.
Until now, Giulia and I have been teaching at the City Cultural Center and Medical Center in Nablus, a women’s center in Askar Camp, and another in Sebastya. Each class has its own difficulties and personality. There seems to be a trade-off between behavior and enthusiasm; at CCC and Sebastya, for example, the kids are usually pretty well-behaved, but they get bored more easily, so we have to work harder to keep their attention. At Askar and the Medical Center, the kids are crazy. I always leave with my ears buzzing, and the Medical Center is where the fight broke out a while back. But when they focus on an activity, they put an amazing amount of energy into it (here’s a link to the Medical Center kids singing Al Kufiyya for us).
We tried to make the last day memorable while simultaneously reviewing everything we’ve gone over up until that point. With the older kids, I wrote out some staves and had the compose their own music. It was pretty basic stuff, but they were able to come up with 10 or so bars of song, which Giulia and I then played on her flute and my trumpet.
After going over rhythms, notes, and dynamics, and singing “Tik Tik Tik Ya Musleiman” and “Oh! Alele”, we took group pictures of each class. Sometimes, we let the kids try out our instruments. Most of the younger ones could eventually get a sound out my trumpet, and a few managed to jump registers, which is actually way more than I could do the first time I picked one up. It made me want to buy them all instruments; some would seriously make great musicians, if they just had the resources to get started.